Previously Bush juxtaposed the phrase "9-11" with Saddam and convinced a majority of Americans that Hussein was somehow involved in the attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center towers. Even though there was no truth to the charge, the President, even to this day, continues to use the 9-11 attack to justify the war in Iraq.
Now we are confronted with a new phrase,"the war on terror is a different kind of war and must be fought outside the normal conventions of war". This rational is being offered up to the American people by the President, along with Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld and other Republican mouthpieces to justify violations of habeas corpus, torture and wiretaps outside the FISA process.
So, how is this war different?
So, let me see if I have this logic straight–we justify violating the conventions of war in order to fight an uncoventional threat that has not come close to killing the number of people who died in the so-called conventional wars?
Well, we must admit that the enemy is sneaky and does not congregate in mass formations like conventional armies. That is true. But this fact calls into question the President’s claim that in contrast to the Clinton Administration, who relied upon law enforcement and intelligence tools, he is going to use military power to fight the terrorists. Sounds great on a campaign stop, but the reality is quite different.
Since Donald Rumsfeld authorized the U.S. military in January of 2003 to "find, fix, and finish" Al Qaeda and other extremist Islamic groups around the world, the U.S. military has not bagged a single major target. Instead, the key terrorist leaders, such as Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who have been captured or killed were nabbed through intelligence and law enforcement efforts. Our military is too big, too bulky, and too slow to effectively attack and destroy the existing terrorist networks around the world. The terrorists do not offer "good" military targets, i.e. well organized commands with massive infrastructure. They operate in cells and fully integrate themselves with civilian populations. As we saw with the destruction of Fallujah, even wiping out a city does not wipe out terrorism.
President Bush is using fear to scare Americans into looking the other way as he tries to justify his declaration of an imperial Presidency entitled to do whatever he wants as long as he can say, "I’m protecting Americans from terrorism". If we continue to allow our fear of terrorism to be used as an excuse for torture, unconstitutional imprisonment, and domestic spying without judicial review, we are on the precipice of the totalitarian world feared by George Orwell and offered to us by the amiable George W. Bush.